According to old colleagues, the practice of law has changed a lot in the last decade. Things are getting more informal, working with the documentation is easier than ever thanks to data bases and technology developments and communication with the client is as fluent as it can be with cell phones and email. Most importantly, the lawyer is still the main part of all legal advice.
However, a lot of people think this will change. Well, more than change I would say "continue to develop". As the world moves on, the law practice needs to move along with it or it will become dated.
If you click on the above link you will be able to see a picture titled "In five years, the future of law practice will be..." that lays out in a very illustrative manner what is going on now with the practice of law.
I want to talk about some of these points (I will do a second post with more talking points so I don't become boring in this post):
a. Remote: I believe that we will be getting there sooner than in 5 years. Remote working is a practice in most of the firms in the US and UK (some latin countries still need to work on this). The ability of a lawyer to have a life outside the firm, go and pick up their kids and continue working from home, etc. is a need for lawyers and a must do of the practice.
b. Automatic: I think we need to be careful about the automation of law. There are certain processes or documents that can be subject to some automation (specially on documents management and procurement), but one of the main basis of the law is that everything needs to be considered on a case by case basis. There are no two identical situations and tailoring will still be a demand, specially on litigation...
c. More flat fees: we need to be careful on this. Yes, alternative billing arrangements are used more and more, and this will continue to be the trend. However, there are certain situations that an hour by hour billing is necessary to ensure the financial viability of the matter from the firm. Complex litigation, cross-border projects, big companies restructuring...all those are examples of cases that can require an unlimited number of hours by the law firms and exclusive dedication of some of the attorneys.
d. Virtual: I don´t see the way the law practice can become virtual. I may be missing something, but I don't see any added value of VR in comparison with a video conference...but I'm probably wrong, so let me know!
I will continue to comment on these topics in future posts.
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